Walmart Pharmacist Excellence in Patient Care Award Winner: Kevin Gaughan

Pharmacy Times, August 2016 Pain Awareness, Volume 82, Issue 8

In recognition of his commitment to his patients' health and his management of his pharmacy team, Kevin Gaughan has been named winner of the 2016 Walmart Pharmacist Excellence in Patient Care Award.

In recognition of his commitment to his patients’ health and his management of his pharmacy team, Kevin Gaughan has been named winner of the 2016 Walmart Pharmacist Excellence in Patient Care Award.

A graduate of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, Gaughan owes much of his patient care and leadership approaches to his early experiences working at Padden Pharmacy, an independently owned pharmacy in Wheeling, West Virginia.

“The one thing that I can trace all of my success in my career to is starting my career as an intern and a pharmacist at the independent pharmacies owned by Vince and Tony DeCaria,” Gaughan told Pharmacy Times. “Vince was my mentor and taught me everything I know about taking care of my patients, managing a business, and taking care of patients. Those basic lessons make me feel like I can be successful in any pharmacy setting.”

Gaughan later worked as pharmacist for a Kroger Pharmacy in Ripley, West Virginia, before joining the pharmacy team at the Ripley Walmart. Gaughan currently serves as the pharmacy manager at a Walmart in Spencer, West Virginia, where he oversees the store’s entire team of pharmacists and technicians.

A staunch advocate for pharmacy education, Gaughan believes that it is important for pharmacists to be taught not only the knowledge they need to best treat their patients, but also the skills they need to effectively run the pharmacy itself.

“The vast majority of training in pharmacy school is concerned with patient care, as it should be; however, at some point, if we become the highest ranking person in the pharmacy, we have to manage people,” he said. “Therefore, in addition to patient care training, pharmacists need to be taught how to staff and manage a workplace.”

Reflecting on his career, Gaughan is grateful for the opportunities he has had to improve patient health and for the many pharmacy staff members whose hard work and dedication have allowed him to pursue opportunities to improve patient health.

“It must be said that no personal achievement, such as this award, is possible to achieve alone,” Gaughan stated. “Therefore, I need to acknowledge the incredible group of pharmacists, technicians, and OTC staff members who have supported my efforts in our pharmacies.”

Q: What do you think is the most important issue in pharmacy today?A: In retail pharmacy, our roles are not shifting from dispensing to clinical duties, rather the clinical duties have been added to our roles as dispensers without any change in dispensing philosophy. We are still dispensing hundreds of prescriptions per day and are now immunizing and performing medication therapy management services. The workload has increased tremendously, and the quality of both dispensing and clinical services are suffering because one is constantly being interrupted by the other. I think it is time for companies to consider having a pharmacist in a designated role each workday, either performing clinical services or dispensing prescriptions, so pharmacists may perform each task to the best of their ability.

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?A: Attention to detail is crucial for both managing a pharmacy team and taking care of patients.

Q: What advice do you have for other pharmacists?A: My advice to young pharmacists, and perhaps even more so to pharmacy students, is learn from the successful pharmacists whom you encounter during your training and education. Pay attention to the way they connect with people and how they run their businesses. These are the things you can’t learn in a classroom.